The curtain came down on the 2015/16 KwaZulu-Natal cricket season when the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union hosted their annual awards evening at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead where cricketers and teams from all divisions of the game were honoured for their contributions throughout the past season.
While much of the evening’s limelight fell on those at Amateur level, the final awards of night recognised the individual efforts of the Franchise’s top achievers across the three formats domestically as well as the much sought-after Players’ Player of the Season award.
Left-handed batsman Vaughn van Jaarsveld scooped both the Sunfoil Series and Momentum One Day Cup awards whilst overseas professional Kevin Pietersen was awarded the RAM Slam T20 Cricketer of the Season award.
In what is arguably the most prestigious award, left-arm spinner and hard-hitting lower order batsman Keshav Maharaj walked away with the Players’ Player of the Year award after he excelled in all formats of the game and showed an unwavering dedication to the Sunfoil Dolphins throughout the season.
Van Jaarsveld, who was the shining light at the top of the order for the Sunfoil Dolphins for much of the season, was pleased to be recognised for his achievements.
“It is very humbling to have been given these two awards and although I didn’t manage to win the RAM Slam award, there is still next season and I hope that I can continue to perform and contribute to the team,” he mentioned. “There were some difficult times throughout this season but I am grateful that I could perform for the team and more than trying to win awards, what I am looking forward to most next season is continuing to make an impact here at the Dolphins!”
Maharaj’s performances in the 2015/2016 season were further recognised when he was awarded a berth in the South African A side in both the limited overs and four-day formats and the passionate spinner cannot wait to get back on to the cricket field for the upcoming season.
“I want to start playing again now! I’ve had my month’s break and I am ready to get going again already!”
“I really want to win trophies for the Sunfoil Dolphins and bring back the support that we had a few years ago,” the loyal Maharaj mentioned. “I am really happy to be recognised by my peers however it would have been even better to have won this award with some trophies in the cabinet for the team too.”
Kevin Pietersen played a vital role in getting the Sunfoil Dolphins to the RAM Slam T20 Challenge final and appreciated the support that he received when he was part of the Sunfoil Dolphins set-up.
“It was a wonderful time playing with the Dolphins; we made some very special memories.
“It was nice to have done well and it was great that we got to the final but despite the result I had such a great time and am looking forward to seeing what will happen next season.”
Veteran all-rounder Daryn Smit was acknowledged for his mammoth contribution to the KwaZulu-Natal side’s Sunfoil 3-Day Cup, CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge and the CSA Provincial T20 Challenge campaigns when he was named KwaZulu-Natal’s Provincial Player of the Season while Kyle Nipper scooped KwaZulu-Natal Inland’s equivalent for his tremendous effort with both bat and ball across all three formats.
Nipper’s KZN Inland team was also awarded the CSA Provincial T20 Challenge trophy after they claimed the competition by one point over Eastern Province while coach Shane Burger’s men claimed this season’s revered Sunfoil 3-Day Cup title as well.
In the ladies division, the KZN Women’s Provincial Cricketer of the Season award went to Nondumiso Shangase whilst the KZN Inland Women’s Provincial Cricketer of the Season prize was a warded to Nicole de Klerk.
There were also a number of awards handed out at club and school level with Hollywoodbets Crusaders headlining proceedings as they claimed no fewer than twelve trophies on the night, their incredible dominance of club cricket in KwaZulu-Natal this season seeing them awarded the prestigious KZNCU Presidents Award.
The side from Durban North were deserving recipients following another trophy-laden season which included victories in the Castle Premier League, Castle Premier T20, Premier Reserve League, Premier Reserve T20, Division 1, Division 6, Under 11 North competitions and culminated in their first team representing the province at the recent 2016 Momentum National Club Championships in Pretoria.
KZNCU AWARDS WINNERS
Deaf Cricketer of the Season – Zolani Mbhata
Intellectually Impaired Cricketer of the Season – Themba Mzhila
Groundsman of the Season – Oliver Ngcobo
SA Rural Team Manager – Brian van Aswegan
SA Women’s Team Representatives – Dinesha Devnarain, Chloe Tryon
Protea’s Team Representatives – Kyle Abbott, David Miller, Imran Tahir, Morné van Wyk
Scorer of the Season – Alison Moor
Academy Player of the Season – Tshepang Dithole
Provincial School Coach of the Season – Kenneth Mafunga
Most Improved Umpire of the Season – Barry Oosthuizen
Umpire of the Season – Pius Nkosi
DDCU Presidents Award – Xolani Gasa
U11 Player of the Season – Nkanyiso Nxumalo
U13 Player of the Season – Andile Simelane
U14 Player of the Season – Thuthukani Chiliza
U15 Player of the Season – Mhlengi Ndaba
U17 Player of the Season – Mangoba Gwala
U19 Player of the Season – Sanele Gwala
Sunfoil Tournament U15 Player of the Season – Samkelo Gasa
Sunfoil Tournament U19 Player of the Season – Lihle Tikwayo
KZN INLAND AWARDS
U13 Player of the Season – Ross Klusener
U15 Player of the Season – James Ritchie
U17 Player of the Season – Matthew Dicks
19 Girls Player of the Season – Sune Pawson
U19 Player of the Season – Eathan Bosch
Provincial Women’s Player of the Season – Nicole de Klerk
Provincial Player of the Season – Kyle Nipper
U13 Player of the Season – Cade Carmichael
U15 Player of the Season – Matthew Montgomery
U17 Rural Player of the Season – Abdullah Mahomed
U17 Player of the Season – Thamsanqa Khumalo
U19 Girls Player of the Season – Joanne van de Veen
U19 Player of the Season – Joel Veeran
Senior Rural Player of the Season – Gareth Bishop
Women’s Provincial Player of the Season – Nondumiso Shangase
Provincial Player of the Season – Daryn Smit
RAM Slam T20 Challenge Player of the Season – Kevin Pietersen
Momentum One Day Cup Player of the Season – Vaughn van Jaarsveld
Sunfoil Series Player of the Season – Vaughn van Jaarsveld
Dolphins Player’s Player of the Season – Keshav Maharaj
KZNCU Presidents Award – Hollywoodbets Crusaders Cricket Club